AZ AANHPI for Equity Gears Up for 2024 Election with $100,000 Matching Fund Drive

By Eddie Wong. Posted November 24, 2023

We are less than one year away from a presidential election that could return Trump to the White House and plunge our country into an authoritarian abyss where civil rights will be sharply curtailed.  Whipping up racism and xenophobia against immigrants and Muslims is not new to Trump but interviews with aides spell out his desires for more extreme measures in a second term. See Sweeping Raids, Giant Camps, and Mass Deportations: Inside Trump’s 2025 Immigration Plans, NY Times.  Not only would Trump revive the Muslim travel ban but he promises “the largest domestic deportation in American history.” He would also end birthright citizenship, which was won in the U.S. Supreme Court in 1898 because an American-born Chinese, Wong Kim Ark, successfully sued after he was denied entry to the US after visiting China.

One of the key states in 2024 is Arizona because the electorate is sharply divided. President Biden won in 2020 with 10,457 votes. (0.3%).  In 2022, Arizona voters elected Democrat Katie Hobbs as Governor with a margin of 17,000 votes, and Democrat Kris Mayes was elected Attorney General by 280 votes. With Asian American voter turnout increasing by 23% from 2018, it’s clear that in close elections the Asian American vote can be decisive.

Arizona Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders (AZ AANHPI) for Equity has been critical to registering voters through its 501c3 arm and mobilizing the vote for Democratic candidates and progressive ballot measures in its 501c4 branch. Working with a full-time staff of 14 people (canvassers, communications, and operations staff), which spends half of its time on the c3 work (non-partisan voter registration and education work) and half on the c4 (partisan work for candidates and ballot measures).

As AZ AANHPI for Equity prepares for 2024, their goal is to double their budget which will enable them to employ more canvassers, phone bank staff, and pay for increased messaging via campaign mailers, ads on ethnic media, and radio and cable TV ads.  Giving a big boost to the fundraising drive is a $100,000 matching grant from the Coulter Foundation to support AZ AANHPI for Equity’s voter registration/voter education work and to encourage recruitment of new donors.  A new donor’s gift will be matched dollar for dollar, thus doubling the value of one’s contribution.  All gifts must be recorded before December 31, 2023. Thus, AZ AANHPI for Equity is putting out an urgent call for people to make a special tax-deductible gift before the end of 2023.  Gifts can be made online via https://aanhpi.org/donate or via checks made out to  AZ AANHPI for Equity and sent to their office at 1011 S. McClintock Dr., Tempe, AZ 85281.

AZ AANHPI for Equity’s work in the 2022 elections is a testament to their dedication to reaching Asian American voters, who are often never contacted by the Democratic or Republican parties. AZ AANHPI focused on the overlooked Asian American voters, many of whom are primarily Asian language speakers. Thus, they have translated election materials into eight Asian languages. Canvassers made 16,121 in-person visits with voters. Additionally, AZ AANHPI for Equity sent out 30,000 handwritten postcards to voters.

The Civic Engagement Fellowship is a three-month training program. Fellows are given a $1,000 stipend. Photo from 2021. AZ AANHPI for Equity.

AZ AANHPI is also fighting voter suppression by joining with Latinx and Native American tribes to contest two GOP-initiated laws that would authorize voter purges if the local registrar believes the registration does not have proof of citizenship or proof of residency. Native Americans and others would be disenfranchised because they do not have a fixed address as is often the case on the reservation. Requiring proof of citizenship in addition to the federal form for voter registration presents an additional burden on the registrant.

2024 is not only a critical year for the federal races (president, Senate, and House) but for the state legislature, which is held by the Republicans by a one-seat majority. AZ AANHPI has targeted flipping Legislative District #13, which is Chandler/Gilbert/Tempe, and Legislative District #4, which is north Paradise Valley/Phoenix.  Both districts have a high concentration of Asian Americans. “We have always been on the defensive,” said Jennifer Chau, Executive Director of AZ AANHPI for Equity. “The Republican majority in the legislature has created horrible bills such as the anti-trans and LGBTQ bills and passed voter suppression bills. It will make a huge difference for Arizona’s people if we can make the legislature plus one Democrat.”

AZ AANHPI for Equity continues to build for the future by working with youth through a climate justice campaign and the Youth Fellowship leadership development program. Voter registration is a year-round activity conducted with innovative touches such as the “Community through Dim Sum Canvass Day” and “Boba ‘n Ballots,” a partnership with local boba shops.

AZ AANHPI focuses on local races primarily, but they also educate voters about the higher profile top of the ticket races. In 2024, there will be a hotly contested race for U.S. Senate with Democrat Ruben Gallego facing incumbent Sen. Krysten Sinema, who will probably run as an independent, and Trumper Kari Lake, who lost in 2022’s Governor’s race. The Biden vs Trump race for president will likely be a close contest.

AZ AANHPI for Equity is a member of the Arizona Works Together Coalition which will gather signatures for a 2024 ballot initiative to repeal Arizona’s right-to-work laws that stymie unionization efforts.

No matter where you live, the outcome of the races for President, US Senate, US House of Representatives in Arizona will have an impact on your life.  Helping AZ AANHPI for Equity meet its matching fund drive will enable them to launch vigorous voter registration and voter education campaigns.  Give as generously as you can and know that even a small gift of $25 doubles in value.  Please make your contribution before Dec. 31, 2023 by going to www.aanhpi.org/donate.

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Author’s bio:  Eddie Wong is the editor and publisher of East Wind Ezine. He has been a longtime activist in the Asian American cultural and political movement.

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